Hitler Testifies at Trial Army Officers Charged With Inciting Treason Among Troops Hot

Hitler Testifies at Trial Army Officers Charged With Inciting Treason Among Troops

Adolf Hitler and Ernst Roehm, 1930

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Adolf Hitler testifies in Leipzig at the trial of three army officers who are charged with inciting treason among the troops. According to government prosecutors, the officers are fascists and Nazis who were trying to get support from members of military in anticipation of a possible coup.

Hitler is placed in a difficult spot here: if he turns his back on the fascist agitators, then he will lose the support of too many violent nationalists, but if he comes out in support of them he will be going back on his promises to only seek power through legal means. There is even the possibility that he might be charged with attempted treason as well.

While on the stand, Hitler attempts to chart a middle course: explain that he's seeking power via legal means, but once in power he will tear up any law he doesn't like.

Hitler says:

"If our movement succeeds, we shall erect a people's tribunal before which the November criminals of 1918 shall expiate their crime, and I frankly predict you shall then see their heads rolling in the sand. ...

The National Socialists do not regard the international agreements as law but as something forced upon us. Germany is gagged by the peace treaties. We do not acknowledge our guilt in the war, especially not the guilt of future generations. When we shall oppose those treaties by every possible means, we shall find ourselves in the midst of a revolution.

We shall oppose those treaties both diplomatically and by completely evading them. That may be looked upon by the world as an illegal method, but we will not employ it until the party has been victorious. After two or three elections our party will be in the majority.

The National Socialist movement will pursue its aims within the state and with means prescribed by the constitution. The constitution, however, prescribed only the method and not the final end. We will make our party the decisive factor by means of the law-making bodies, but at the moment that our party has the power we will mould the state in the form that we consider the right one."

When asked specifically about plans to launch an armed revolt against the Weimar government, Hitler says:

"We don't need an armed revolt. All we need is another election."

If there is any doubt about whether Hitler is successful in placating his violent followers, it should be dispelled by the cheers he keeps receiving from the fascists and Nazis who crowd the courtroom.

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